the words you have aggregated

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Ikk

Senior Member
Hungarian
Your vocabulary is constituted by all the words you have aggregated over the course of a particular amount of time.

Does the use of 'have aggregated' is natural in this context? Would a native speaker ever say it like this?

Aggregate - Definition for English-Language Learners from Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

According to that online dictionary, one of the meanings of the verb 'to aggregate' is 'to join or combine into a single group'. The verb is used in a very similar way there.
 
  • bandini

    Senior Member
    inglés gabacho
    I won't presume to speak for all native speakers but, in my opinion, "aggregate" is a low frequency verb in English and, when the word is used at all, it's usually in its noun form. In this sentence, most people would simply say,
    "Your vocabulary consists of all the words you have learned/added to your repertoire... over a lifetime."
     
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    Ikk

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    I won't presume to speak for all native speakers but, in my opinion, "aggregate" is a low frequency verb in English and, when it is used at all, it's usually in its noun form. In this sentence, most people would simply say,
    "Your vocabulary consists of all the words you have learned/added to your repertoire... over a lifetime."
    But would it be very unnatural or even very strange to say it that way? By 'very unnatural' or 'very strange', I mean that the sentence makes native speakers 'cringe'.

    I know that it also depends on the conversation. For instance, if it's just an informal conversation between two people who learn languages as a hobby they will presumably use another word. However if two scientists talked to each other, I don't think it would be strange to use the verb 'aggregate'.
     
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    bandini

    Senior Member
    inglés gabacho
    Not at all. You would be understood so feel free to explore and have fun because, after all is said and done, that's how you learn!

    YES, it is a word used frequently in the scientific community.
    When the two chemical were mixed, a red powdery aggregate formed on top.
    Our success was the aggregate of all our efforts working as a team.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Your vocabulary is constituted by all the words you have aggregated over the course of a particular amount of time.

    Does the use of 'have aggregated' is natural in this context? Would a native speaker ever say it like this?

    Aggregate - Definition for English-Language Learners from Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

    According to that online dictionary, one of the meanings of the verb 'to aggregate' is 'to join or combine into a single group'. The verb is used in a very similar way there.

    I wouldn't personally use "aggregated" like that. "Amassed" might be a better choice. :)
     

    Ikk

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    I wouldn't personally use "aggregated" like that. "Amassed" might be a better choice. :)
    Okay... So you would use 'amass' instead. But does 'have aggregated' sound very unidiomatic in that sentence?
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    US English
    "Aggregated" means "grouped together". Does that imply "learned to recognize and use"? I don't think it does.

    It might mean "added to a long list of words in your notebook".
    But it does not mean you have learned the words.
     

    Ikk

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    "Aggregated" means "grouped together". Does that imply "learned to recognize and use"? I don't think it does.

    It might mean "added to a long list of words in your notebook".
    But it does not mean you have learned the words.
    Aggregate definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary

    The verb is defined on that website as follows: ´If amounts or things are aggregated, they are added together and considered as a single amount or thing.´

    A vocabulary is basically a number of words thus it could and I think that it's axiomatic that vocabulary denotes the number of words a person. There are two types of vocabularies constituting the overall vocabulary of a person: Passive and active.

    The passive vocabulary contains all the words that the individual understands but cannot use actively. It is often way larger than the active one irrespective of whether the person is a native speaker or not.

    The active vocabulary consists of all the words that an individual can use.

    Besides, another native speaker said that it was fine to use the verb in that sentence. Here you go confusing me again.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I don't think it's a good use at all. Generally, things you aggregate are in physical groups or in figures/numbers that represent physical things, and that doesn't fit with words in your head.

    If you do a presentation at your company and display aggregate sales figures you might display a chart showing the total sales from each division of the company and the total for all of them combined. You're consciously bringing different things together to work with them as a whole group to see the big picture.

    That's just not how words and language works.

    Maybe you are looking for the somewhat similar word accumulated.
     
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    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Besides, another native speaker said that it was fine to use the verb in that sentence. Here you go confusing me again.
    Your vocabulary is constituted by all the words you have aggregated over the course of a particular amount of time.
    In my opinion, the whole sentence is stilted. There are some writers who spend more time on the wrapping than the contents.
    "constituted by? "Arghhhhh!
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    US English
    Your vocabulary is constituted by all the words you have aggregated over the course of a particular amount of time.
    I prefer (I think this is more accurate):

    Your vocabulary consists of all the words you have accumulated.

    What is "over the course of a particular amount of time"? That is simply incorrect. I don't have one "vocabulary" for July and a different "vocabulary" for August. I either learned the word or I didn't. It doesn't matter when I learned it.
     

    Ikk

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    In my opinion, the whole sentence is stilted. There are some writers who spend more time on the wrapping than the contents.
    "constituted by? "Arghhhhh!
    Too stilted? English isn't used only in informal conversations.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    US English
    I think post #10's "too stilted" comment means "Too stilted for normal written text."

    Post #10 says "writers", not "speakers in informal conversations".
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Too stilted? English isn't used only in informal conversations.
    Language is about communication whether it be written or spoken. Choice of words and structure that muddle the message are of little use.
    Unfortunately, some learners seem to think that obscure or stilted writing will impress readers and glorify the writer. This might be true in the culture of the learner, it is not so in English, at least not the version that educated Americans use every day or read in well-edited newspapers.
    Quoting from the style guide of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), i.e. the rocket scientists:
    If you are tempted to use a word because you think it will give an authoritative ring to your writing, or because you think it will put you among an in-group of specialist readers, don’t.
    ;)
     
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    dojibear

    Senior Member
    US English
    I remember back around 1993, when complicated language was fashionable. People wrote "utilize" instead of "use", and similar things. A great many sentences were written as passive sentences, which "sounds fancier" to some people. Happily, that fashion lasted less than 10 years, and had mostly disappeared by 2005.
     

    Ikk

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Language is about communication whether it be written or spoken. Choice of words and structure that muddle the message are of little use.
    Unfortunately, some learners seem to think that obscure or stilted writing will impress readers and glorify the writer. This might be true in the culture of the learner, it is not so in English, at least not the version that educated Americans use every day or read in well-edited newspapers.
    Quoting from the style guide of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), i.e. the rocket scientists:

    ;)
    I remember back around 1993, when complicated language was fashionable. People wrote "utilize" instead of "use", and similar things. A great many sentences were written as passive sentences, which "sounds fancier" to some people. Happily, that fashion lasted less than 10 years, and had mostly disappeared by 2005.
    Okay, so are both saying that there is basically nothing wrong with my sentence (it is understandable, the word choice is correct, the grammar is correct etc...) but it is way too formal?
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    No, it's a bad word choice. You are not aggregating anything.

    Does the use of 'have aggregated' is natural in this context? Would a native speaker ever say it like this?
    No and no.

    The word acquire is another a-word used in the context of learning languages. Maybe you are thinking about that.

    There is a lot of vocabulary in English and each word has a natural place based on its history and previous usage by native speakers. Even if words are very similar in their basic definition, that doesn't necessarily mean they can easily be switched and sound natural.
     
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    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Some words I have aggregated: pineapplesuitcasebananapencil. Not aggregated: pineapple suit case banana pencil.
    "Aggregated" is the wrong word.
     

    Ikk

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    No, it's a bad word choice. You are not aggregating anything.


    No and no.

    The word acquire is another a-word used in the context of learning languages. Maybe you are thinking about that.

    There is a lot of vocabulary in English and each word has a natural place based on its history and previous usage by native speakers. Even if words are very similar in their basic definition, that doesn't necessarily mean they can easily be switched and sound natural.
    I know the verbs 'amass', 'accummulate' and 'acquire as well. All of these are in my active vocabulary which means that I can use them. I have known the verb 'aggregate' for a long time, however, it has always been in my passive vocabulary, so I wanted to transfer it to my active vocabulary. I compared the definition of 'accumulate and 'acquire' and the definitions seemed to be identical. Looks like I was wrong. But then what's the difference?
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    US English
    I compared the definition of 'accumulate and 'acquire' and the definitions seemed to be identical.
    Dictionaries work in one direction, but not in the other direction.

    For example, "dog" has the definition "a small animal".
    That means that every dog is a small animal.
    That does not mean that every small animal is a dog.

    In other words, dictionaries are not guides telling you how to use a word correctly in a language.
    Dictionaries are only useful when you see an unkown word used correctly.
    Then a dictionary will give you a rough idea of its meaning.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    US English
    I compared the definition of 'accumulate and 'acquire' and the definitions seemed to be identical. Looks like I was wrong. But then what's the difference?
    "Acquire" means "get". For example, if someone gives you a house, you acquire a house. If someone gives you a million dollars, you acquire a million dollarrs.

    "Accumulate" means "get gradually, a little at a time". If you get one new acorn a week, in a year you "accumulate" 52 acorns.

    "Aggregate" means "group together". If you have 52 acorns in 52 different trees, you can put them all into one (big) basket. Then you have "aggregated" your 52 acorns in one basket.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    As we said above, aggregate is much more active than what you are describing. You are slowly accumulating vocabulary over the years - not in one limited period and not through an active, standardized process.

    - Your vocabulary is constituted by consists of all the words you have aggregated acquired the ability to understand and use over the course of a particular amount of time your life.

    If you aggregate something, you consciously take parts and combine them into an organized whole.

    If you aggregate sales figures, you sit down at your desk and look up the sales numbers for the Western division and write that down, then you look up the sales figures for the Southern division and write that down and then you do the same for the other geographic divisions. Then you do the overseas divisions and then you add those all together and get a total (aggregated) sales figure for the company, and then maybe you make a chart showing all those numbers so they can be useful to someone else, like your boss.

    You are not doing anything active like that with your vocabulary.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    The original question which was asked has been answered to the best of members' ability. Further discussion appears to me unlikely to be productive in terms of producing a definitive conclusion on which everyone is agreed, and I'm therefore now closing the thread. Thanks to everyone for their efforts to help. DonnyB - moderator.
     
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